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House Democrats Unveil First Draft of Stimulus-Bill Measures

House Democrats Unveil First Draft of Stimulus-Bill Measures
(Dreamstime)

Monday, 08 February 2021 03:30 PM

House Democrats on Monday released the first draft text for key pieces of legislation that will comprise President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 relief bill.

The legislative language released by the Education and Labor Committee and Committee on Financial Services shows Democrats are forging ahead with plans to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, and have earmarked $15 billion for airline-worker payroll assistance. The Transport panel detailed further billions for airports and trains.

In all, 12 committees are meeting in the coming days to assemble the stimulus bill for a House floor vote during the week of Feb. 22. Once the bill goes to the Senate, it is designed to be passed with just 50 members plus the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris using a special budget fast-track procedure.

Education and Labor Chair Bobby Scott’s draft bill includes Biden’s minimum-wage proposal, which also phases out the lower wage for tipped workers. The committee, set to meet Tuesday to hold votes on the bill, estimates that 27 million workers would see a pay increase under the provision by 2025, if it passed.

The Education and Labor panel’s language also includes:

  • $130 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade school reopening
  • $40 billion for higher-education institutions
  • $39 billion for childcare businesses
  • $5 billion for extended pandemic food benefits
  • $4 billion for expanded home-heating assistance
  • $1.4 billion for senior-care services
  • Provisions to tighten workplace safety standards for Covid-19
  • Funding to subsidize health insurance for the newly unemployed, and to address a rise in domestic violence and child abuse

The Financial Services Committee is charged, under the terms of the 2021 budget adopted last week by Congress, with drafting legislation totaling $75 billion in deficit increases. Chair Maxine Waters will convene the panel on Wednesday to vote on this portion of the bill.

The Waters panel’s draft language includes:

  • $10 billion to use the Defense Production Act to produce masks and other Covid-19 equipment,
  • $25 billion for rental assistance, largely run through the Treasury Department
  • $5 billion in assistance for the homeless.
  • $10 billion for direct assistance to homeowners for mortgage payments, property taxes and utility costs
  • $14 billion in payroll assistance to airlines, with $1 billion for their contractors

As for the Transportation Committee, it draft text provides measures including the following:

  • $50 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to deal with the Covid-19 disaster
  • $30 billion for transit
  • $8 billion for airports
  • $1.5 billion for Amtrak

The House Ways and Means Committee is planning a multi-day process to approve the tax portions of the stimulus bill, starting on Wednesday. This panel’s text includes relief checks, paid-leave benefits and expanded tax credits for families with children and low-income individuals. It also addresses the extended unemployment benefits that Biden called for in his overall $1.9 trillion proposal.

The committee’s draft language -- which is not yet final and could be subject to changes -- include the following tax-credit parameters, according to a draft obtained by Bloomberg News:

  • Boosts the annual child credit to $3,600 a year for children five and younger and $3,000 for those six and up.
  • The money would come in monthly installments from July through December. The maximum child tax credit is currently $2,000 and is disbursed annually
  • Single-parent households earning up to $75,000 or couples making $150,000 will get the full credit amounts, which will phase out for incomes above those levels
  • The credits will be based on a family’s 2020 income.

Biden campaigned on an expanded child tax credit, which has been a longtime goal of Democrats, who are already beginning a push to make the more generous provision a permanent fixture of the tax code.

Republicans including Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Marco Rubio of Florida have also expressed support for a larger child credit.

© Copyright 2021 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.


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House Democrats on Monday released the first draft text for key pieces of legislation that will comprise President Joe Biden's Covid-19 relief bill.The legislative language released by the Education and Labor Committee and Committee on Financial Services shows Democrats are...
GOV, HEA, INDUSTRIAL, INDUSTRIES, INS, LAW, NORTHAM, POL, TRN, US, WORLD
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2021-30-08
Monday, 08 February 2021 03:30 PM
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